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Cedric Jones Reports After Signing $12.2 Million, Six-Year Contract

July 27, 1996

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Cedric Jones might have been the most welcome face in training camp for the New York Giants’ defensive line.

Being the No. 1 draft choice in camp on Saturday had nothing to do with it.

For now, Jones is just a fresh body _ exactly what the injury-plagued defensive line needs.

Since camp opened a little more than a week ago, five defensive linemen have been hurt, with starting tackle Keith Hamilton, backup end Jamal Duff and tackle Todd Yeaman all still sidelined.

Saturday’s planned 60-play scrimmage at the University at Albany had to be reduced to 40 plays because of the line injuries.

Jones’ arrival after signing a six-year, $12.2 million contract early Saturday that included a $6 million signing bonus should help the line.

``The D line was so banged up they were happy to see me,″ Jones said Saturday following the scrimmage. ``It’s a fresh body coming out to take some of the snaps away from them.″

The Giants are hoping Jones will turn into more than a fresh body. The No. 5 pick in the draft racked up 25 sacks in his final two years at Oklahoma, and coach Dan Reeves is hoping to get some of that production for his team, which was among the league’s worst in recording 29 sacks last season.

``I think I can help,″ said Jones, who is 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds. ``We need some help on the defensive line. I think I can get out there and do some of the things I like to do and we can have some fun.″

Jones said he stayed in shape by working out at school, but admits he is not in game condition. He said he would like to play in the Giants’ exhibition opener next Friday at Jacksonville.

Defensive line coach Earl Leggett isn’t going to push things.

``The big thing is, I don’t want to get him hurt real quick,″ said Leggett, who plans to try Jones on both sides of the line. ``I don’t know what he’s been doing. I have to find out about that. Hopefully, he’ll get ready fairly quick.″

The team will do some running Sunday and Reeves plans to watch Jones.

``He’s missed a lot of practices and he has a lot of catching up to do,″ Reeves said.

Sources close to the league said Jones’ contract was worth $12,191,250. He’ll be paid $635,000 as a rookie. The $6 million signing bonus, which was all payable up front, is the equivalent of making $50,000 annually for the next 120 years.

Jones, who grew up in a two-bedroom apartment in Houston, plans to buy a home for his mother and grandmother.

``It feels good being able to take care of your family and do those types of things,″ Jones said. ``Now I can go out and do the thing I love to do, play football.″